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09.12.16

Crossrail contractors face prosecution after worker killed by falling concrete

Three major contractors are set to be prosecuted over the death of a Crossrail worker and the injury of two others in three separate accidents during the construction of the tunnel.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced that BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman and Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Ltd will have to appear at Westminster’s Magistrates Court in January next year to face four charges.

Two of these relate to the death of Rene Tka’cik on 7 March 2014, and the other two relate to the injuries to Terrence Hughes and Alex Vizitiu on 16 January and 22 January 2015 respectively.  

Annette Hall, HSE’s head of operations, said the body has informed the three contractors that they face prosecution over the three serious incidents after it concluded, following in-depth investigations, “that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute, and it is in the public interest to do so”.

Tka’cik died after being crushed by almost a tonne of falling concrete in March two years ago while working on the Fisher street cross-over tunnel, part of the major east-west rail project in the capital. It took the emergency team around six minutes to reach him from ground level because the tunnel was so deep.

An inquest into his death, held in February last year, heard that he was a “hugely experienced” worker, according to reports – and had been working in the UK to earn enough money to pay for his daughter to go to university in Slovakia, where his family lived.

In 2015, Hughes suffered severe leg injuries when he was crushed by a tipper truck while working between the Bond Street and Paddington section of the tunnel. Vizitiu was working on the same stretch of the tunnel a week later when he was struck by a high-pressure mixture of water and concrete during a routine operation to clean concrete lines, suffering head and hip injuries.

The contractors facing prosecution, none of which have put out statements yet, are also involved in other major infrastructure projects, including in rail. BAM Nuttall has been awarded the Ordsall Chord contract alongside other companies, as well as a £300m contract for HS2 enabling works in partnership with Ferrovial.

(Top image: Crossrail reveals first completed tunnel in November 2013)

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